Coronavirus: The Archers BBC R4 soap to broadcast archives

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The Radio 4 soap centres on life in rural England

The Archers has announced it will broadcast archive episodes featuring key moments because new material is taking longer than hoped to produce during the coronavirus lockdown.

Five archive episodes will be broadcast each week from 3 May to 24 May with themes such as weddings and annual traditions in the Ambridge calendar.

The cast normally records at BBC Birmingham in the city's Mailbox.

The drama will reflect challenges posed by the virus in the new recordings.

Jeremy Howe, editor of the long-running BBC Radio 4 soap, said: "We know our listeners tune in to The Archers for many different reasons, not simply entertainment but escapism and companionship too.

Memory lane trip

"We're working tirelessly in challenging circumstances on writing and producing new episodes in a different, simpler format with cast recording in their homes, but with that work taking a little longer than anticipated, we want listeners to be able to continue visiting Ambridge."

He added many listeners had said they were keen to hear again, or for the first time, "important moments" in the lives of Ambridge characters.

"So we're selecting episodes from the last two decades we hope will give the audience new insight or an enjoyable trip down memory lane," he said.

The first week of archive episodes will including four weddings and the second will focus on key developments for a number of characters.

The third week will revisit annual traditions, such as the annual flower and produce show.

Recording is typically done weeks in advance of broadcast, meaning writers have so far been unable to reflect the rapidly evolving pandemic on the show.

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